The vBulletin system is popular for Internet forum installations, and comes ready to support two of the most used languages on the World Wide Web. The current version version has also been praised for the better search engine optimization options that it provides administrators with. Version 4.1.8 was released in October 2011. vBulletin’s fourth release is also notable for the blog functions that it featured.
Read more on the page “About vBulletin“.

Why skins?

While many of the web 2.0 softwares used to power today’s web uses cutting edge desing, many forum softwares default templates looks quite dated. This is unfortunate, not least since on websites with active forums, this part of the site is often the most visited. The great majority of forum sites uses default skins, but here are some inspring examples where the webmasters have spent some extra hours to customize the look to integrate with their websites:

Adobe Forums – This example shows the sub-forum for discussions about Photoshop on Windows. Clean and effective design.

Apple Support Forums – The masters of design, Apple, are not using a defalut template for their support forum…

LFG Comic – A Invision Board powered forum which is another good example of when a custom not much more than a background image and a matching color theme makes a huge difference compared to the default forum template.

Piano Forum – A Simple Machines powered forum based website about classical piano music. An inverted theme like this gives lower readability for some people but can be effective for design purposes. Here the color theme matches the rest of the site and not least, the colors of a concert grand piano.

Electronic Arts – EA uses custom design on each of the sub forums. Mostly done by using separate background graphics, this is a pretty simple but very effective solution. Example from the “Need for Speed” category:
forum.ea.com/eaforum/categories/show/57.page

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